Mirativity is the implicit encoding of speaker surprise or exceeded expectation (DeLancey, 1997). It is encoded using a variety of different strategies: morphologically, e.g., in sentence particles; polysemously, e.g., in mirative evidentials; syntactically, using focus fronting; and prosodically, in 'exclamation intonation'. The first goal of this paper is to motivate a unified semantic treatment of mirativity as it is encoded in a variety of ways across languages. The second goal is to apply the semantic treatment to English exclamation intonation as a case study. The details of this study suggest that there are several prosodic components to exclamation intonation in English, only one of which is clearly associated with the sememe of mirativity; the other features, we hypothesize, serve as optional, gradient markers of prosodic prominence.
Proceedings of the 37th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by D. K. E. Reisinger and Marianne Huijsmans Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-477-5 hardback
v + 225 pages
publication date: 2021
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA